OPSBA Applauds With Our Best Future in Mind Report

Toronto, June 15, 2009- The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) wholeheartedly embraces the fundamental importance of Full-time Early Learning. Investing in our youngest children in the early years represents the most far-reaching and responsible investment we can make in Ontario's future. The release of the report With Our Best Future in Mind creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give our children the kind of start that assures their readiness to succeed in school and in life.

"Every child deserves the best possible start," said OPSBA president Colleen Schenk. "A child's readiness to learn at the start of grade one is the single strongest predictor of how well the child will do in every grade, whether they will graduate successfully, what their earning potential will be, how positive their contribution to society will be and even how healthy they will be. The research is overwhelming, consistent and irrefutable."

The With Our Best Future in Mind report has the potential to make our already strong public education system even stronger. Full-day learning for four- and five-year old children is a commitment to the children of the province to provide a solid foundation for student success throughout their school years. It is the right service to provide for children and their families.

OPSBA supports this important initiative and believes that school districts must work together and in partnership with the relevant ministries, the early childhood education community and municipalities in the planning process to ensure that the program delivery model and implementation strategy are responsive to the diverse needs of children and families and take into account the range of circumstances in school districts across the province.

In June 2008, OPSBA developed and consulted with Dr. Pascal on the Association's Discussion Paper on Full-time Early Learning. OPSBA stressed that the filter for every decision related to full-time early learning must be "is this the best solution for children?" We are heartened to learn that many of the recommendations made by OPSBA appear in With Our Best Future in Mind report including those involving the education of First Nation, Inuit and Métis children. http://www.opsba.org/index.php?q=what_we_do/advocacy_and_action/kindergarten

OPSBA will continue to examine the many considerations to be addressed in developing an implementation plan for the Full-time Early Learning initiative with our member boards. The issues are complex and flexibility in options and timing of implementation is essential. We are a province of diverse communities with a broad range of demographic factors and socio-economic pressures. What we have in common is a commitment to opportunities for children.

"Full-time Early Learning is a foundation that will give children opportunities not just in their early years but throughout their life cycle," said OPSBA president Colleen Schenk.

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For more information, please contact:

Jeff Sprang
OPSBA Communications
(416) 340-2540
6/15/2009